Thursday, July 01, 2010


The She-Devil in the Mirror from Salvadoran novelist Horacio Castellanos Moya is one of the choices in John O'Connell thriller review roundup.
An intriguing, nuanced thriller set in San Salvador in the early 1990s after the end of the civil war, this was originally published there 10 years ago. Our narrator is a wealthy 30-year-old divorcee, Laura Rivera, whose best friend Olga Maria has just been murdered. In a series of gossipy, increasingly manic rants delivered over a six-week period in a variety of settings – at a wake; on the phone; driving to the cemetery for Olga Maria's funeral – Laura floats her theories and quickly proves herself to be as devious as she is paranoid. The identity of her addressee remains a mystery throughout. It certainly isn't the reader: we're eavesdropping on these monologues, a fact that both tantalises and implicates us. Silver's fine translation sustains tension admirably, though I wondered if Laura was even more objectionable (because easier to locate socially) in the original Spanish.
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